What is TMJ or TMD?

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) or Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) pain, as it is commonly called, is a chronic facial pain disorder that can negatively impact a patient’s quality of life. Your TMJ joint (TMJ) is like a hinge that connects your jawbone to the rest of your skull. TMJ disorders can cause pain in your jaw joint and in the surrounding muscles that control the movement of your jaw. TMJ disorders can cause many of the following symptoms:

  • Facial pain
  • Pain in the jaws and teeth
  • Neck pain
  • Earaches
  • Pain in the temples
  • Difficulty or discomfort when chewing
  • Clicking or popping of the jaw
  • Locking of the joint (where it is difficult to open or close your mouth)

What Causes TMD – TMJ?

The exact cause of TMJ disorder is difficult to determine as there are many variables that can contribute. These include genetics, developmental issues, jaw injury, arthritis, stress, bruxism (clenching), and issues with your bite.

Most of the time the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorders is transient, lasting only a short time, and can be relieved with self-managed care, dental appliances, and or physical therapy.  We recommend surgery of your jaw joint only as a last resort only after conservative treatments have failed.

Our oral surgeons are experts in the functional diagnosis and treatment of TMJ disorders. Our oral surgeons will work with you to determine the underlying cause of your jaw malfunction and help develop a plan to help you feel better soon.

FAQ about TMJ

  • My teeth are crooked; can this be the cause of my jaw pain?

Yes, it’s possible. Crooked teeth or malocclusion can cause misalignment in the jaw joint. This can lead to increased stress on your bite and eventually to bite misalignment. This can also result in permanent damage to the jaw or jaw joint. Straightening crooked teeth at any age may relieve many of the painful symptoms associated with TMJ.

  • I wake up with headaches every morning, is this caused by TMJ?

If you wake up with headaches or jaw pain often you may be grinding your teeth in your sleep. This is known as bruxism (grinding) can add additional stress on the jaw and jaw joints. Bruxism can be a contributing factor to TMJ.

  • How do you treat TMJ?

There are many ways to treat TMJ depending on the underlying cause of jaw pain. Some patients experience jaw pain due to an improper bite or tooth misalignment, others have TMJ as a result of bruxism. Treatment is specific to your case; we would need a comprehensive analysis of your TMJ to determine the functional cause of your discomfort.

For more information on TMJ treatment contact us today at (305) 936-5974 (Aventura) or (305) 538-4556 (Miami Beach).